My friend, who has performed the Japanese tea ceremony – Urasenke style – for many years, invited me to a formal tea ceremony – Chaji – which he hosted. I also asked my friend, Kelly, to come with me because she previously told me that she had never experienced it in Japan. She immediately answered that she would love to attend. I was very excited to join Chaji for the first time in five years and meet up with Kelly as well!
It was very nice that we four guests entered a tea garden following the stepping-stone path and then entered a small tea house. Chaji started at noon. A meal was served, followed by little sweets, Koicha (a thick blend of matcha powder and hot water) and Usucha (thin tea). The whole process ended at around 14:30.
I loved the landscape of the Japanese garden, the simplicity of the tea room and utensils, and the company of the guests. I could not translate well some terms of the ceremony and the cultural backgrounds into English for Kelly, but it was a relief that she seemed to enjoy it very much!
After coming back home in the evening, I opened my drawers and found quite a few tea utensils that my mum gave me a long time ago and a handheld mirror that my dad bought for me. I found these things very emotional.
I hope that I could use the tea set; I do not remember the tea ceremony etiquette very well but I still greatly appreciate the philosophy.